HSBC, Europe's largest bank, was today to begin telling 850 information technology workers in Britain that they will lose their jobs.

This marks the first big tranche of redundancies under a restructuring plan that will eliminate 8,000 British jobs by the end of next year. 

The employees are based in London, Sheffield, Leeds and Birmingham and all the jobs will disappear by the end of this year, sources said. HSBC declined to comment. 

The bank unveiled its three-year restructuring plan last year, designed to pare back its sprawling global network by shutting under-performing businesses to improve earnings hurt by high compliance costs, fines and low interest rates. 

The restructuring will eventually eliminate one job in five around the world and around a sixth of jobs in Britain. 

When the restructuring plan was announced, CEO Stuart Gulliver said most of the job losses in Britain would come from employees leaving on their own accord. 

HSBC has 47,000 UK workers at the end of December, according to its most recent annual report. 

More cuts are expected over the coming months as the bank continues to consolidate IT and back office operations, the sources said.